The spark came from the Balkans, a vol atile region of southeastern Europe on the southern border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Austrian and Russian monarchies and the Ottoman Empire competed for control for hundreds of years.
Austria annexed Bosnia from the Ottoman Empire six years before.
On June 28, 1914, the heir to theHungarian throne and his pregnant wife visited Sarajevo.
To avenge the murders, Austria- Hungary, with Germany's approval, decided to bring Serbia under its control or destroy it.
It humiliated Serbia by issuing unreasonable ultimatums.
Austria-Hungary prepared for war despite Serbia agreeing to most of them.
On August 1, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia and on France, expecting a limited war and quick victory.
Thousands of Belgian civilians were murdered or deported by German troops after they invaded neutral Belgium to get at France.
Russian and Turkish armies battled on the Eastern Front, as well as German and Austro-Hungarian forces.
Europe was consumed by a "great war" within five weeks of the assassination in Sarajevo.
Italy joined the Allied Powers in 1915.
The Great War required the total Mobilization of economies and civilians, as well as soldiers and sailors.
More than half of the 70 million soldiers who fought on both sides were killed, wounded, or missing.
Powerful new weapons changed the nature of warfare and resulted in staggering human casualties.
Machine guns, submarines, aerial bombing, poison gas, flame throwers, land mines, mortars, and armored tanks produced horrifying casualties and widespread destruction.
The French army lost thousands of men on August 22, 1914.
Both sides fought a war of attrition, gaining little in the way of territory.
The two sides built a network of trenches from the coast of Belgium to the border of Switzerland.
Some trenches were forty feet deep.
Soldiers lived and died in their underground homes.
The object wasn't much to gain ground on the enemy until its resources were exhausted.
Soldiers are eating in front of enemy fire in France.
Both sides used up their available men, resources, courage, and cash during the war.
Both sides talked about the "glory" and "glamour" of war.
After his first combat, the captain was giddy.
He wrote to his parents about his love for war.
It is a big event.
He died thirteen days after being hit in the head with a piece of shrapnel.
Romantic glory died with the casualties.
As soldiers died like cattle in a slaughter, the traditional glorification of military combat crumbled.
The opposing armies in northeastern France attacked and retaliated along the Western Front from 1914 to 1918.
Generals would send their troops "over the top", climbing up and out of the trenches carrying sixty pounds of gear.
The soldiers died when they reached the top of the ladders.
The casualty rate for the 800 men who went over the top at Somme was 89 percent.
The soldiers who made it out of the trenches had to cross "No Man's Land" between the opposing trenches.
Their lives were dependent on the webs of barbed wire and devastating fire from machine guns and high- powered rifles.
French soldiers began to revolt because of the number of casualties.
The psychological challenges faced by both sides of trench warfare were extraordinary.
Post- traumatic stress disorder is a condition that thousands of soldiers fell victim to.
A nurse said it was a hor rible thing.
In 1916, a British officer ordered his unit to fix bayo nets and prepare to charge out of the trenches when he sounded his whistle.
One of his men said that a young man named Lucas was a bundle of nerves.
He couldn't hold his rifle, never mind attach it.
The French Fort Souville is between the Battles of Verdun and German soldiers.
The forests were destroyed by the constant fire.
There were holes in the ground.
The way men looked at war was changed by the huge casualties.
In previous conflicts, soldiers were eager to fight and confident they would return unscathed.
In 1917, George Barnes, a British official whose son had been killed in the war, went to speak at a military hospital in London, where injured sol diers were being fitted with artificial limbs.
At the appointed hour, the men in wheelchairs and on crutches, all with empty sleeves or pants, arrived to hear the speaker 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 Barnes found himself speechless when he rose to speak.
tears rolled down his cheeks as the minutes passed.
He sat down without saying a word.
The soldiers heard a pity of grief, not a war-glorifying speech.
The mindless horrors of the war had returned.
America and the killing fields were separated by a wide ocean.
The majority of Americans wanted the nation to stay out of the fighting.
More than a third of the nation's citizens were first- or second- generation immigrants.
Nine million Germans lived in the United States in 1914, and there were more than 500 German-language newspapers in the country.
England had ruled Ireland for centuries before most of the 4.5 million Irish- born Americans detested it.
The majority of these groups supported the Central Powers, while others supported the Allied Powers.
The Allied Powers' need for food, supplies, and weapons in the spring of 1915 created an economic windfall for the U.S. businesses, bankers, and farmers.
From 1914 to 1916, America's manufacturing capacity surpassed that of Great Britain, the world's leader.
The farm income went up 25 per cent.
The Allies needed loans from U.S. banks and credit from the U.S. government to pay for their purchases.
Wilson reversed Bryan's policy when he returned to the White House after the Great War.
America avoided the war's horrors while reaping its economic benefits, according to the pres ident.
Before the United States entered the fighting, banks and other investors sent more than $2 billion to the Allies.
The more Britain and France borrowed, the harder it was for America to remain neutral.
The Wilson administration maintained its neutrality for thirty months despite the disproportionate financial assistance given to the Allies.
Wilson tried to defend the principle of "free dom of the seas," arguing that neutral nations had the right to trade with warring nations without fear of being attacked.
Bryan urged the warring countries to respect the rights of neutral nations to ship goods across the Atlantic.
The Central Powers agreed with the British.
In November, the British ordered neutral nations to search their ships for any cargo bound for Germany.
The British said they would seize any ships carrying goods to Germany.
The United States gave more than just material aid.
Thousands of men and women volunteered in the British, Canadian, and French mili taries, the French Foreign Legion, the American Ambulance Field Corps, military hospitals, and various refugee relief organizations.
In October 1914, the first American Red Cross ship arrived in France.
Volunteers wanted adventure or glory.
This political cartoon shows Uncle Sam War in order to repay France for its support of America's biased brand of neutrality.
The volunteers were wearing a sandwich board that advertised the nation's conflicting desires.
Thousands of Native Americans are still not granted citizenship in the United States.
Theodore Roosevelt helped his son get a commission as a captain in the British Expeditionary Force.
By 1916, thousands of Americans were volunteering in hospitals in France and England as well as soldiers or pilots on the Western Front.
When the war began, a Harvard graduate living in Paris volunteered in the French Foreign Legion.
After months of living and fighting in horrible trenches, Seeger saw little glory in the conflict.
He wrote that his role was to dig a hole in the ground and keep it hidden.
Under the fire of the opposing bat teries, he is never allowed to see the enemy.
At the Battle of the Somme in northern France, on July 4, 1916, Seeger died, as the romantic he was, "smiling and without regret."
He thought death was not terrible after al.
The German government declared a "war zone" around the British Isles because of the blockade of its ports.
More than 200 British ships were sunk in the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea in 1915.
128 Americans died on the plane.
Fifty of the dead were infants.
Wilson urged patience, saying that a man is too proud to fight.
General John Pershing told his wife that Wilson was a weak president.
Wilson's earlier threat of strict accountability required a tough response.
The Germans said that the ship was armed and that it was transporting hundreds of Canadian soldiers.
Bryan resigned as secretary of state because of Wilson's pro- British stance.
Wilson sent Colonel Edward House to London, Paris, and Berlin in hopes of stimulating peace talks, but the mission failed.
Wilson threatened to end relations with Germany and its leaders promised not to sink merchant and passenger ships.
The pledge implied abandonment of submarine warfare.
In case of war, the sinking of the U.S. passenger vessels made the army and navy stronger.
The National Security League was created by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge to convince Congress and the president to prepare for war.
The preparation effort was opposed by many Americans because it was a propaganda campaign to benefit businesses that made weapons and other military equipment.
Wilson was accused of planning to enter the war.
Wilson's proposal fell short of what the nation needed, according to others.
The secretary of war and his assistant resigned.
Americans were pushed toward war by the Germans.
There were many explosions in the United States in order to stop the flow of military supplies to France, Great Britain, and Russia.
In the early hours of July 30, 1916, German agents blew up the "Black Tom" munitions depot in New York Harbor at Jersey City, where more than 1,000 tons of explosives were stored.
The explosion killed seven people, injured hundreds, blew out windows in Times Square and St. Patrick's Cathedral, and caused half a billion dollars in damages.
More than 200 rail cars were destroyed in the fires.
The National Defense Act was passed by Congress in 1916 and will allow for the expansion of the U.S. Army from 90,000 to 223,000 men over the next five years.
Opponents of readiness argued that the expense of military expan sion should be paid for by the wealthy munitions makers who profited from trade with the Allies.
Congress decided to use the income tax as a deterrent.
The Revenue Act of 1916 doubled the income tax rate from 1 to 2 percent, created a 12.5 percent tax on munitions, and added a new tax on excessive corporate profits.
Wilson had approved the progressive legislation that resulted in the new taxes.
Theodore Roosevelt wanted to become the Republican nominee.
His decision to run as a third- party candi date in 1912 had angered many powerful members of his party, and his eagerness to enter the war scared many voters.
The Republicans nominated Charles Evans Hughes, a progressive who was the governor of New York from 1907 to 1910.
Wilson's neutrality policies were popular in 1916.
The Democrats adopted a platform centered on social welfare legislation and military readiness.
The slogan "He kept us out of war" became the campaign's ral ying cry, although the president acknowledged that the nation could no longer refuse to play its part in the world.
Colonel House was harsher.
The two candidates were very similar.
Both Wilson and Hughes were sons of preachers and both had been progressive governors.
Hughes implied that Wilson was not neutral enough in responding to the war because he was hostile to Big Business.
Wilson was the better candidate.
Wilson assumed he had lost by the time he went to bed.
Roosevelt sent Hughes a telegram because he was sure he had won.
At 4 a.m., the results from California showed that Wilson had eked out a victory in that state by only 4,000 votes, and thus had become the first Democrat to win a second term since Andrew Jackson in 1832.
His pledge of "peace, prosperity, and progressivism" won him the west ern states.
Wilson urged warring nations in Europe to negotiate a "peace without victory," but to no avail.
On January 31, 1917, German military leaders renewed unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic, for they had come to believe that victory depended on their cutting off the trans- Atlantic supply lines from America and Canada to the European allies.
All American vessels heading for Britain, France, or Italy would be sunk without warning.
Wilson's secretary of the Treasury said that he ordered the United States off the Atlantic.
Wilson was left "sad and depressed" by Germany's decision, according to Colonel House.
The American reaction was underestimated by the German leaders.
The British eavesdropped on a telegram from Germany's foreign minister to the German ambassador in Mexico City.
If war broke out between the United States and Mexico, the ambassador was told to offer the Mexican government an alliance.
The Mexican government did not support the Germans.
Americans called for war.
In March 1917, five U.S. ships were torpedoed by German submarines.
This was the last straw for Wilson.
He called on Congress to declare war against the German Empire.
He called for 500,000 men to bolster the armed forces and warned that it would require all the material resources of the country.